Using Sour Milk

  • September 25, 2011 9:00 am

Another post from Glenny!

How often do you find milk going bad in your fridge?  For me, its often.  I love milk in my coffee, but I only ever use a splash.  Cereal?  I eat it occasionally, but certainly not enough to merit buying anything more than a quart.  Still, I’m always frustrated when I don’t have any in the apartment and have to dash out and hope for the best at my local market.  (I’ve been drinking Hudson Valley Fresh Whole Milk, and am often reluctant to buy other brands.)  So, I find souring milk all of the time.

The good news is that milk that is going off is still usable!  It has turned into buttermilk, which is a needed ingredient in all sorts of biscuits, breads, and other baked treats.  When you find milk that is past its expiration, don’t throw it out!  It’s time to bake!  Not that you should need an excuse.

My favorite recipe using buttermilk is the very simple, very rustic Irish Soda Bread.  Consisting of few ingredients, this bread is a breeze to make, and is ready for noshing within an hour.  No rising, no kneading, no yeast.  If served with an easy soup of fall vegetables, you’ll impress your very satisfied diners.  And, voila!  No more sour milk!

Full disclosure: this is not my Irish Soda Bread, but I wish it was.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

14 oz buttermilk (just under two cups)

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  Sieve the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in all of your milk.  Using your hand and a circular movement, gently mix the buttermilk into the dry ingredients.  The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.  When it all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface.

Gently form the dough into a round about 1 1/2 inches deep.  Cut a deep cross on the loaf and prick in the four corners (the Irish say it is to “let the fairies out”).  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 400 F for another 30 minutes until it is cooked through.  If you’re in doubt, tap the bottom of the bread: when cooked it should sound hollow.

Cool on a wire rack.

If you’re feeling ambitious, try adding new ingredients like raisins, dried cherries, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, chocolate chips, olives, etc. etc. etc.

Stockposting

  • July 31, 2011 8:30 pm

The New York Times Dining section printed a wonderfully conscious, fun, and eco article about using everything when you cook this past Wednesday, called That’s Not Trash, That’s Dinner. Cute. Read it here.

It reminded me of a section I wrote in The Conscious Kitchen about what I call stockposting–I use what most people put in the compost pile (or the trash) to make stock. Well it’s really more like scrap broth than stock but whatever you call it, it’s making use of every last bit of kitchen odds and ends to add flavor to your next dish. Basically it’s common sense. Back in the day it was frugal grandma territory. Now it’s hip. I love it!

Here’s the stockposting section from The Conscious Kitchen:

Restaurants never waste a scrap; they can’t afford to.  But at home, we all do.  It’s alarming how much useable food we toss.  Before composting, see what you can still use.  Things like celery fronds, spinach stems, and the outer layers of onions can be used to make vegetable stock, for example.  I call it stockposting.  Keep a bowl in the fridge or a jar in the freezer to collect these odds and ends in, too, and when you have a full container (and the time) toss them on the stove in a pot of water with some seasoning.  Strain it and store the resulting broth in the fridge or freezer.  What could be better than homemade veggie stock out of what you thought was nothing?  For similar chicken stock, boil stockposting ingredients with a bound-for-the-garbage roast chicken carcass.  It won’t be as hearty as a traditional stock, but it does the trick to add flavor and liquid to grains, sauces, and more.